Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Umbrellas

8"x10" oil Not for Sale
It is so easy to forget that for the majority of my life I have not had immediate access to obscure information at my fingertips, literally.  In my father's lifetime, he went from flying a heavy tin can around to seeing a man land on the moon.  We can instantly talk face to face, "2001: A Space Odyssey" style, to friends across the globe.  It is amazing, but equally amazing that we can also take courses online for free or very little money.  This painting is a result of Leslie Saeta's online course of painting with a palette knife, which is something new for me.  I have been thirsty for a change in my artwork, and even though I don't think painting with a palette knife is it, it is a nice tool to add to my bag of tricks. There are tons of online classes available and the advantage of them is not just the low cost, but the opportunity to take your time or move quickly through them.  The drawback is the lack of interaction with other students or an instructor, however most of the art instructors I have become familiar with are willing to correspond via email.  I think it is a great way to mix things up a bit and step into new territory.  It gives those brain neurons new pathways and shakes things up a bit.  It will take making a bunch more of these paintings to feel comfortable with the palette knife, so it may take me while...but I am in no hurry.  Considering that I am well into the last quarter of my life, that may not be true about everything....Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Spring Bouquet

11"x14" oil on canvas, $350
OK so this is not a figure...lets see if I can make a connection, because of course, that is what it is all about.  There is a quote in the Bible that speaks about not worrying, just asking, that goes something like this....the flowers in the field don't work and yet King Solomon wasn't dressed this good.  So, if we make the assumption that God dressed the flowers and he takes care of our needs too...that sort of associated flowers with the figure of a person.  I may be stretching this one a bit, but there is an importance in making the connection and it does seem to be the point of almost everything.  My paintings have little meaning without the connection...without someone who is moved by them.  I get something out of it too, in the making of it.  I feel meditative, which is good for my soul.  I feel struggle, concentration, problem solving, and discovery which is all good for my brain.  I feel the "zone" which is good for tapping into that creative power bigger than all of us put together.  However, without the connection to others, there is no purpose in finishing them.  When they are successful, it taps something in many and gives them joy.  That is enough for me ultimately.....but of course....in the short term, it is also my livelihood and I did put a price on it....so I guess I also want to sell it.  Oh well, so much for lofty ideals....Go Figure!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Fiesta

6"x6" oil
My grandson used to live close by, however, and alas, they have moved across the country.  Initially we would take him to a Mexican restaurant every year for his birthday.  They sang to him, gave him a balloon, and he got to wear a sombrero.  One day he told me he could speak 3 languages, American, English and Spanish.  American because, well, he is.  English because his dad is British, and Spanish because of the restaurant.  It is funny what we hold close to our hearts and carry freshly in our minds from our experiences in the past.  Recently, I remembered something from junior high journalism class.  I had a great teacher.  She really taught and valued the intellectual curiosity of her students.  One day she said, "The biggest problem with propaganda is that eventually people will believe nothing."  It struck me at the time like a light bulb going on.  I really thought about it, but didn't have any personal experience to back it up.  It was a bit like the story of the boy crying wolf.  At the end of the year it was a question on the final exam.  Of course I remembered it, and amazingly she told me I was the only one in the class that got it right and that someday it would mean something to me.  In this age of fake news and Russians influencing what we think by interfering in what is leaked, that phrase really does mean something to me.  For all of our differences, I hope Americans can come to grips with who we are.  I don't want to live in a country made up of radical factions that are at war with each other.  Really, are we not just a ginormous tribe?  Go figure!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Oh My!

6"x6" oil
I frequently hear this phrase from the "experts,"  Paint What You Love.  I think there is wisdom in that.  I paint a lot of different things, but I always love painting children.  Well, not really children, but painting images of children.  I like my children unadorned and natural, certainly not covered in paint.  I can see things I would have done differently if I was starting this painting again.  Things I know but frequently forget, but all in all, I loved doing it and am happy with the results.  Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - New Consumers

10"x10" oil
Some of my concerns have been sneaking into my paintings lately.  I try not to be overly political or socially opinionated, but we all have issues that matter to us.  I love painting children, especially in poses that are natural and not posed.  These three Tweeners are conversing about something important in front of a fashion art poster.  I have 3 granddaughters so I am paying attention to the influences our culture has on them.  I heard the phrase "Pester Power" in terms referring to children influencing the buying habits of their parents.  I don't think this is new, it just seems more excessive and high dollar.  I remember pestering my mom to buy me the shoes I wanted.  There were tears involved.  I lost.  I got sturdy tie up shoes instead.  "No," was common in my parents' vocabulary. I am concerned about how advertising is helping to define how the young girls see themselves and forming a picture for them of what it means to be a girl.  On the other hand, I love to see my girls dressed in their lovely pink dresses as they explore the world and discover its magic and mysteries...like catching salamanders!  I may have to paint this scene!  Go Figure

Monday, May 1, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Too Young

6"x6" oil
The background painting is located at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, which is my favorite art museum, so far.  I love the building which was completed at the end of the 19th century as a station for electric trains and an accompanying hotel.  It was renovated as a museum which opened in 1986. It is spectacular architecturally as well as the collection which spans the years 1848-1915 of western hemisphere art. The Impressionists  paintings make up a good portion of the collection.  This painting, The Red Ball, is by Felix Vallotton.  The flatness and odd horizon line of the painting give a sense of a child running after the ball and away from his/her caretakers.  It invokes a sense of insecurity, hence (in part) my title Too Young.  The second meaning has to do with the visitors pictured here.  We all know that obesity is epidemic with the US rating 6th in the world.  So "too young" refers to the generations of young people who are sacrificing good health for high calorie and low nutritional content foods.  I find it an interesting juxtaposition. Perhaps more of us should be running after that little red ball. Why am I thinking about chocolate right now???   Go Figure!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Figuratively Seaking - Idyllic Happiness

8"x10" oil
What is "Idyllic Happiness" to you?  This art lover is probably feeling pretty happy looking at beautiful paintings and carrying around her front papoose.  Giving birth to a perfect and healthy little one is a pretty good moment.  They painting she is looking at is by Gauguin, painted in 1897.  It is a representation of  Vairumati who is a legendary figure of the Maori people.  Gauguin was at a low point in his life when he painted this scene representing "Idyllic Happiness."  His colors are bright and cheerful even though he was suffering from syphilis and was feeling suicidal.  It is weird how so many artists of fame have such tragic stories and yet they have brought such joy to millions who have viewed their art.  Ironic isn't it?   Go Figure.... 
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